Lithopanes, sometimes referred to as Lithophanes, and from this is derived a meaning for lithophane of "light in stone" or to "appear in stone" as the three-dimensional image appears suddenly when lit with a back light source. However you spell them, lithopanes are three-dimensional versions of photographs that only make sense when light is shone through from one side to the other.
Invented in the 1820s, they were originally carved in warm wax on a glass plate, which was then duplicated in porcelain. Lithopanes were once tricky to make, and consequently were both very expensive and highly valued pieces of art. They were also hard to design, since the balance of light and shade in the finished product is produced entirely by the thickness of the material from which it’s made. With the advent of computer controlled machines and 3D printers the process is now easier to manage and produces very nice results.
While 3D printers accomplish the process by adding material, CNC routers produce them by removing material from a base substrate, creating a negative of the image.
We use readily available ¼” solid surface countertop (Corian® by DuPont) as our base substrate to create these wondrous pieces of art. This produces a highly durable finished piece that you will enjoy for years to come.
Since we are only limited by physical size, 48" x 48" by 2 ½” thick, and the selection of material, (our router can cut plastics, wood and most non-ferrous metals), we also produce custom carved wood signs. Most of our signs are made of hardwood and finished with the appropriate coating for the application. Those that are intended for outdoor use receive a base of stain for color, and a top coat of clear Cabot® Australian Time Oil™. Interior signs and plaques are finished with oil based Minwax® Wood Finish in the customer’s choice of color.